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More Promising Research from Israel on Guided Imagery and Parkinsons

25 Sep

Researchers from the Technion in Haifa, Israel conducted a pilot study to assess the efficacy of relaxation and guided imagery in reducing motor fluctuation in patients with Parkinsons Disease.
PD patients underwent (i) a relaxation session with relaxation guided imagery, and (ii) a control session of relaxing music. Twenty one PD patients participated and 19 completed this study.

Three-day diaries were completed at baseline and after each intervention. Subsequently, patients received CDs for home listening - a relaxation guided imagery disc and a relaxing music disc. After three months the patients were interviewed by phone.

There was a significant increase in the percent of "on" time after listening to the relaxation guided imagery disc as compared with baseline (from 47.7% to 62.8%, 95% CI 5.26-25.03, p = 0.005).
Relaxing music caused no significant change in percent of "on" time from baseline (from 47.7% to 53.0%, p = 0.161).
Although all sessions were performed in "on" state, there was a significant decrease in UPDRS motor subscores after each of the two sessions as compared with the UPDRS score before the session.
This effect was significantly greater (p = 0.020). with the relaxation guided imagery than with the relaxing music.  (Relaxation guided imagery mean reduction -3.81 p = 0.0002 and after relaxing music mean reduction -1.95, p = 0.001).

After 3 months of listening to the relaxation guided imagery disc, "on" time was increased from baseline by 12.6% (95% CI 3.19-28.39, p = 0.111) but this did not reach statistical significance.

The researchers conclude that relaxation guided imagery is a promising treatment for PD.

Citation:  Schlesinger I1, Benyakov O2, Erikh I3, Nassar M3. Relaxation guided imagery reduces motor fluctuations in Parkinson's disease. Journal of Parkinsons Disease. 2014 Jan 1;4 (3): pages 431-6..

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.